Love in Ancient China: Mythological Legends About Love

HSK 3 quiz
Who’s in the mood for love? We’ve got a great blog here for you about some of the most famous Chinese “爱情 (aìqíng) love” stories of all time. These historical tales live on in the hearts of all Chinese people and are essential to know about if you’re in love with Chinese culture and language. So let’s take a look!

There are the four most famous and “感动 (gǎndòng) touching” Chinese love stories! They are respectively “孟姜女哭长城 (Mèng Jiāng Nǚ Kū ChángChéng) Lady Meng Jiang’s Bitter Weeping,” “梁山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó Yǔ Zhù Yīngtái) The Butterfly Lovers,” “白蛇传 (Bái Shé Zhuàn) Legend of Lady White Snake” and “牛郎织女 (Niú Láng Zhī Nǚ) the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl.” And today, I will introduce two of them.

I. 梁山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó Yǔ Zhù Yīngtái) The Butterfly Lovers

HSK 3 quiz
This “故事 (gùshì) story” is kind of like the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet! The girl character “祝英台 (Zhù Yīngtái) Zhu Yingtai” wants to go to school in an era where girls aren’t allowed to attend school, so she dresses up as a boy and heads to a faraway city where she meets “梁山伯 (Liáng Shānbó) Liang Shanbo” and falls in love with him.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize it until it’s too late when Zhu Yingtai ‘s parents marry her off to “马文才 (Mǎ Wéncái) Ma Wencai!” Liang Shanbo gets ill and dies, and when his grave is cracked open by lightning, Zhu Yingtai can’t help herself and jumps into the grave with him. The grave reopens and two “蝴蝶 (húdié) butterflies” emerge. Though sad, this romantic story lives on just like Romeo and Juliet do for westerners.

II. 孟姜女哭长城 (Mèng Jiāng Nǚ Kū ChángChéng) Lady Meng Jiang’s Bitter Weeping

HSK 3 quiz
This story is a “悲剧 (bēijù) tragedy” set during the Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qin was in power and “长城 (chángchéng) the Great Wall” was being built. And there was a pair of “夫妻 (fūqī) the couple; lovers,” the woman was named Meng Jiang Nv and the man was named Qi Liang.

Soldiers came one day and took her husband away to work on the wall. She didn’t see him for months upon months, and after having a nightmare about him she went to see him and realized he along with many others had died. She cried on the Great Wall and her sadness was so strong that it caused the wall to collapse, which revealed her husband’s bones. After seeing them she decided to throw herself into the ocean.
Learn More About 长城 (ChángChéng)The Great Wall

For all those students we hope this blog has been informational and interesting! Which story is your favorite? Which Western stories do these Chinese ones remind you of? Leave your comments in the comment section and we wish you Happy Studying!

Key Learning Points:

1. 爱情 (Àiqíng) love


Liáng Shānbó hé Zhù Yīngtái de aìqíng gùshì guǎng wéi liúchuán.
The love story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is widely known.

Chinese Character: 爱 (Ài) Love (Beginner)
2. 故事 (Gùshì) story


Tā hěn shàncháng jiǎng gùshì.
She is good at telling stories.

3. 蝴蝶 (Húdié) butterfly


Húdié zài huā cóng zhōng fēi lái fēi qù.
Butterflies fly in swarms among the flowers.

4. 悲剧 (Bēijù) tragedy


Hā Mǔ Léi Tè shì yí bù bēijù.
Hamlet is a tragedy.

5. 夫妻 (Fūqī) husband and wife; the couple


Tāmen fūqī liǎ gǎnqíng hěnhǎo.
They are a good couple.

6. 感动 (Gǎndòng) touching


Tā jiǎng le yí gè lìng rén gǎndòng de gùshì.
He told a touching story.

7. 长城 (Chángchéng) the Great wall


Zhōngguó de wàn lǐ chángchéng jǔshìwènmíng.
The Great Wall of China is world-famous.

HSK 3 quiz
1. Which of the following is not a traditional Chinese story?

A. 罗密欧与朱丽叶 (Luó Mì’ōu Yǔ Zhū Lìyè)

B. 梁山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó Yǔ Zhù Yīngtái)

C. 白蛇传 (Bái Shé Zhuàn)

D. 牛郎织女 (Niú Láng Zhī Nǚ)

2. After reading the article, which of the following words can generalize the subject of these stories?
A. 友情 (Yǒuqíng)

B. 爱情 (Àiqíng)

C. 亲情 (Qīnqíng)

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